The Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar have a history that stretches back thousands of years and is steeped in myth and legend, hence being such a popular Gibraltar Attraction. In ancient Greek mythology, Hercules was a divine hero tasked with twelve labourers as penance for killing his wife and children in a fit of madness. One of his labours was to retrieve the cattle of the monstrous Geryon, who dwelled in the western edge of the world. To complete this task, Hercules had to travel to the far west, where he reached the mountains that flanked the Atlantic Ocean.
It is said that Hercules broke the mountain that connected Africa to Europe, creating the two pillars becoming what is now known as one Pillar being the rock of Gibraltar and the second Pillar the Mount Abile across the North African Coast, both marking the western limits and representing the boundaries of the known world, beyond which lay the mysterious and unexplored realms of the Atlantic Ocean.
The ancient Phoenicians, skilled seafarers and traders, were among the first to pass through the Pillars of Hercules. They established colonies along the North African coast and developed trade routes that extended as far as Britain. The Phoenicians’ knowledge of navigation and exploration played a crucial role in expanding the understanding of the Mediterranean world.
Over the centuries, the region around the Pillars of Hercules witnessed numerous conflicts and changes in power, passing by the hands of various empires and kingdoms. However in 1704 Sir George Rooke recaptured Gibraltar for the British and has remained under British sovereignty until this day. The Rock of Gibraltar’s strategic location made it a coveted possession due to its ability to control access to the Mediterranean Sea.
Today, the Pillars of Hercules continue to attract tourists from around the world who come to explore the historical significance of the region and admire the stunning views from the entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.
GTA will take you to this popular Gibraltar attraction when booking one of their tour packages such as the Panoramic Tour of Gibraltar, the Standard Tour of Gibraltar package, the Extended Tour of Gibraltar package and the Open Tour of Gibraltar package.